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There is an exercise that I like to do with my students very early in the semester, and then repeat it at the end. I do a survey asking them who is the first person they think of when they hear the word “entrepreneur”. At the beginning of the semester, the answers are pretty predictable: Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos. However, in the end the perspective changes radically and I find answers more like: my mom / dad, a friend, family … Someone more „close“.
And it is that, in recent years, with the „boom“ of entrepreneurship we have witnessed the process of creating large companies, impressive capital rises, exponential growth that have changed the way we do practically everything, it is normal that we have arrived to exalt the figure behind all this (the so famous „founder“). In this natural process of celebrating everything that has been done well, and, without a doubt, the person who had the vision and guided their teams to achieve it, I believe that we have relegated a bit of a different reality of entrepreneurship: millions of people that move this country, with their daily work and that, although they do not use technology or have such scalable business models, they are still entrepreneurs.
To exemplify the above, I will make a „tribute“ to my favorite entrepreneur; the one that motivates me and that is, for many things, my example to follow. Her name is Lupita and, if you talk to her, she can tell you about the amount of business she has had throughout her life. Different situations have taken her to the extreme and, despite this, she has never lost hope or strength to move forward. She is an expert in identifying needs: from making school bows to match the uniform and covering books at the beginning of the school year for an entire school; even detecting that doing homework and studying is usually a stressful situation for both children and parents, offering a comprehensive solution.
Lupita has always been passionate about education. Hundreds of people, of all ages, have witnessed his commitment to this cause and the patience with which he practices it. Marking lives in his path, he has specialized in offering solutions tailored to each client that he helps, not only to learn, but to learn to learn and fall in love with the process.
Despite all the businesses he has had, it is likely that, if you ask him, he will tell you that his most important endeavor and in which he is most proud, is his family. And it is that training five human beings is not a minor challenge, although it is often underestimated. Fortunately, for this endeavor (and as support for everyone else), he has had an unconditional partner with whom he has made a team that, with everything and its ups and downs, has consolidated over the years. To do justice to this partner, there will be the possibility of writing a tribute to him; but together, they have been able to complement each other, push each other and, with a common vision, work every day to achieve it.
Lupita will never appear on the cover of a magazine and, surely, if it were not for this column, few people outside of those whose lives she has marked, would find out about her existence. Just like Lupita, there are millions of people around us, whose stories of struggle, of creativity, of seeking to add more than subtract, of solving problems, are also not only worthy of being visible, but of showing off. Mexico is a country of entrepreneurs. It is enough to walk its streets and talk with its people to be able to realize it. It is these entrepreneurs who have written the history of our country; those that have created jobs; those who have raised families. And while their businesses will probably never become unicorns, they are no less entrepreneurial. Be careful, this is not a criticism of those who do make the covers of magazines or have greater visibility. My total admiration for each of them, as well as all of whom we did not hear about.
I’m sure that, while you were reading these words, you also thought of a „Lupita“ or „Lupito“. Probably, if you are as lucky as I am, you have the privilege of calling your „Lupita“, „Mom.“ If that is your case, you grew up knowing, and seeing the example of someone who is certain that problems are more like challenges waiting to be solved; that you have the ability to face any challenge that life puts on you and come out stronger; that the will is your greatest motor; that it is necessary to be attentive to the needs of others in order to offer them a solution; among many other things that, from my point of view, are the main characteristics of an entrepreneur.
Hopefully we learn that every entrepreneur is worth celebrating and admiring. Both the founders that change the lives of millions of people, break paradigms and revolutionize industries, as well as each entrepreneur who impacts the lives of the people who cross their path and who, through their testimony, motivate many more to seek to change the world. Hopefully, also, that we can create mechanisms to support them and give them the necessary tools so that they can exploit all the potential they have and can fulfill their goals, thus achieving the democratization of entrepreneurship.